3 Steps to Being Happy with What You Have

What is happiness? Is happiness attainable? Is it something I can give to someone else? In other words, can I make someone else happy? Or, do I need something—whatever it is—to make me happy?

These questions I will try to answer with this short article about being happy with what you have.

1. Throw Away Envy and Ambition

Remember how you felt when you received that shiny new phone for Christmas? You had resolved that nothing in the world could ever take away your happiness.

That is, until you saw someone else using the upgraded version. Now, you want one, too.

Envy and jealousy are like poison to happiness. No matter what, someone will always have it better.

3 Steps to Being Happy with What You HaveThe best way to fight the urge to compare oneself with another is to take life one day at a time. Satisfaction comes from realizing today’s problems and successes are for today. As the cliché goes, tomorrow is another day—another day to fail, another day to succeed.

As I believe Jesus is the son of God, I also look to the bible for wisdom. James 3:16 says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” NIV.

There is nothing wrong with planning. Wise stewards plan. But if planning leads to wanting to be better than others, then there will be no happiness.

Throw away envy and ambition and allow happiness to flood your heart and your mind.

2. Stop Humanizing God

There was a time in my life that I used to think God did not know what he was doing. I saw all the misery around the world, the pain people suffered and I did not believe God could ever fix this mess.

It was too great, even for him.

Thinking that way led me to invalidate God and ask that if he could not fix the world, how could he fix me? In a sense, I humanized God.

Making God equal with me made the thought of his inaction bearable.

I was wrong. Once I began to know God and to learn why he did the things he did, by reading his word, praying, going to church, I learned about real happiness.

I learned God does things in his own time. He allows things to happen because it suits his plan. I may not understand it all, but I know his decisions will make sense to me eventually.

Having the faith that God will work things for the best is my reassurance he loves me and is greater than me or anyone else. I may be a sinner, I may stumble and fall, but he will never leave me. He has never left me, nor will he ever.

That reassurance is another layer to my happiness.

3. Be Grateful

Have you ever exercised and found yourself exhausted to the point that you would give anything for a glass of water? Think about how it felt when you finally took that first gulp.

Satisfying. Thirst-quenching. Happiness.

For a single moment in time, nothing else really mattered. The neighbors could have been bickering, your car payment could have been late and your dog could have suddenly developed a case of worms.

But, for that moment—you were grateful.

Imagine carrying that grateful feeling throughout the day—all the time.

You would not complain about the noisy passenger on the train next to you. You would give food to the homeless sitting at the street corner. You would forgive those who had done you wrong.

Your life, as you know it, would change all because you were grateful with what you had.

You would not worry about money. You would not worry about peace. You would not worry about anything, really

When you are grateful, everything else falls into place.

When you are grateful—there is no reason to be unhappy.

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7 Comments

  1. Beautiful article

    Reply
  2. A great read on the topic is “Happiness” by Randy Alcorn.

    Reply
  3. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
    ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
    That line has stayed with me, ever since I was a child. Thanks for this post Jack. I needed it!

    Reply
  4. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  5. Beautifully said! Great tips. Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  6. Intriguing post. I think we often try to find that “happy feeling”, but it is (like all emotions) fleeting. Joy is lasting – even when I’m battling depression or the world is crumbling around me, the joy endures. A big reason for that, is your last point, being grateful. It’s hard, and sometimes takes a lot of discipline, but it does help. Also, and I’m sorry if I sound like a nit-picker, but there is a difference between selfish ambition and ambition. I think there can be a need for healthy ambition – a motivation and drive that keeps us from remaining static. 🙂 Thank you for these thoughts!

    Reply
  7. A well-written post. This concept is truly a hard one as humans love to compare things, especially themselves to others. This is where seeking happiness becomes an issue like you said. It is best to compare yourself to the old you, whether i’d be a day, a month, or ten years ago. There will always be someone better than you at something, someone that has more “upgrades”. It is best to track personal success and goals and derive satisfaction from that. Looking up to or learning from people who are more advanced will also help you achieve what you desire. Trying and caring about being better than others is a donkey chasing the carrot scenario.

    Reply

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